Tara and Dusty’s Elopement at Ferrari-Carano Vineyards

A young bride looks up at the face of her groom during a wedding ceremony underneath a gazebo at the Ferrari-Carano Vineyards and Winery

You’ve got several options when planning an elopement ’round here. Visit the County Clerk Recorder’s Office for a quick civil ceremony. Or if you’re looking for a bit more pizzazz, cross the Nevada state line to visit one of the many purpose-built wedding chapels. Officiants are standing by 24/7 to perform your nuptials on-demand, you know. However, if you’re aiming for an unforgettable elopement, follow the cross-country trail blazed by my new friends Tara and Dusty at the Ferrari-Carano Winery Vineyards.

Tara and Dusty live in North Carolina, but that didn’t stop them from considering a far-flung destination for their elopement. The fun-loving duo had decided to forego a large-scale wedding day, opting instead for an intimate and God-honoring ceremony at a place of great meaning. The pair (who suffers from glorious wanderlust) had visited the Ferrari-Carano Winery in Healdsburg, California during a recent summer getaway and made some fantastic memories along the way. It was here that they would return one cool December morning for their little Big Day.

I arrived early at the venue, despite the best efforts of my phone directions to throw me off course. I took a few minutes to calm my own pre-wedding nerves by scouting around the charming estate. The winery was set amongst a valley lined with other vineyards of all sorts of orange and red hues. To think that there was hardly a grapevine planted in this region just 50 years earlier!

Within a few minutes, Dusty arrived with Wes, a mutual friend who would soon officiate the wedding ceremony. Dusty glowed with anticipation at seeing his bride for the first time that day. To say he was absolutely stoked to make Tara his wife is an understatement. He and Wes set right to work at setting up communion elements and a video camera at the gazebo where the knot would be tied. Thankfully, the boys had a few extra minutes to set things in order when the call came that Tara’s hair appointment was a bit delayed.

Before long, the second car arrived bearing Wes’ wife Sherry, as well as Tara—in a lovely bohemian dress befitting a wine country wedding. And apparently, Tara’s hairstylist had no trouble working magic even if she was strapped for time. Tara stepped out of the car and into the Ferrari-Carano Vineyard gardens, and the real fun began as you’ll see in the photos below:

A young bride awaits the arrival of his bride during an elopement ceremony

Dusty awaits the arrival of his bride, with joy and a bit of nerves. And an iPhone.

A young groom allows his friend to pin a boutonniere on his chest.

No grooms were harmed in the making of this moment.

Elopement photography 2

The rings, draped on one of the many beautiful roses in the Ferrari-Carano Vineyards garden.

A young groom holds a keepsake wooden cross necklace in his hand

Dusty and Tara both spoke of anchoring their marriage in Jesus, and carried this necklace as a symbol.

A young bride walks toward her groom (off-camera) seeing him for the first time that day.

Tara sees her sharply dressed beau for the first time on their wedding day. Cue the big smile!

A pastor dressed in a sport coat officiates a wedding ceremony for a young, Caucasian bride and groom, set in a garden gazebo.

Pastor Wes leads the intimate wedding ceremony there in the garden gazebo.

A Caucasian groom looks longingly at his bride during their wedding ceremony in a garden gazebo.

The ceremony continues, with Dusty clearly in awe of Tara’s beautiful hair.

A pastor breaks a loaf of bread during a wedding ceremony, celebrating communion with the bride and groom.

Pastor Wes helps the bride and groom celebrate communion.

A groom reads his hand-written vows to his bride during a wedding ceremony in a garden gazebo.

Dusty reads his hand-written vows with a shaky voice and a heart full of love.

A young bride looks up at the face of her groom during a wedding ceremony underneath a gazebo,

The bride and groom smile and lean in for a first kiss.

A newly married caucasian couple embraces following their wedding ceremony in a garden, standing on a bridge.

The new Mr. and Mrs. pose by a stream that runs through the vineyard garden.

A newly married couple plays a game of hide and seek around a towering tree in a lush garden.

Hide and seek.

A newly married bride sits on her groom's lap, caressing his bald head with her hand.

She loves that smooth head of his.

A newly married bride and groom stroke the snout of a "boardeaux", a bronze statue immortalized at the Ferrari-Carrano Winery.

Making an old friend, “Boardeaux”, a part of the wedding day.

A newly married bride and groom embraces in front of the barrel room of a winery.

The view from inside the Ferrari-Carano Vineyards barrel room.

A newly married couple poses for a photograph in front of a vineyard in Northern California.

The view from outside the barrel room…and on to the vineyard.

A groom smiles as he watches his bride wipe wedding cake of her face and into her mouth.

Dusty is smiling because he made the bigger mess when smashing the cake on Tara’s face.

Tara and Dusty’s traveled from one coast to the other, symbolizing just how far they would go to celebrate their marriage. They wove their kind spirit, sense of humor, and strong faith into a memorable elopement and a heartwarming wedding day. My compliments to the new bride and groom on their lively and lovely approach to building a relationship that lasts.

May your love grow only deeper and stronger over the years, my friends. Congratulations!

Interested in having Fits and Stops Photography chronicle your elopement and wedding ceremony at the Ferrari-Carano Vineyards and Winery? Check out our wedding photography packages, then reach out to let us know how we can make your special day that much more special!